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U.s. 9, Us 9, Durbin 8, United States 7, Harkin 6, Hector 6, Mexico 4, Dick Durbin 3, Boehner 3, Obama 3, Eduardo 3, America 2, El Salvador 2, Dick 2, Laurie Chesser 2, Nicaragua 2, Honduras 2, State University 1, United States Senate 1, Sodom 1,
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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    August 3, 2013
    6:00 - 7:01am EDT  

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do. just sign your name. here we go as well. >> this guy's organized. [applause] >> well, my boss told me to do this, so i had to do it. all right. so my turn b to tell my story. .
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my end of junior year at high school. my dad told mel i was coming back from hanging out with my then girlfriend, and he's like hector, i want to talk to you. he basically told me the story of how he came to the u.s. and how our tourists visa had ex-spired when i was still in elementary school. at that time i said all right, no big deal, i'm going to be fine. i don't need to drive or anything. but as i graduated dowling, i realized that i couldn't go to a state university, i couldn't go to continue on my education due to the fact that i wasn't eligible for state scholarships, i wasn't eligible for federal
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grants or loans. i wasn't eligible to the things that my classmates were. i then took the initiative, along with my fiancee, who is out there, to go and visit american friend service committee where the legal service director explained to me my particular situation. understanding my situation and everything that it meant really opened my eyes to what i had to do to overcome this situation that i faced. so since i graduated dowling i've now just completed my associates degree at a community college, i will now be attending drake university. and i have dedicated any self in my spare time to reach out to latino yuft and to tell them, don't let your undocumented status prevent you from achieving your goals. [applause] for myself, i want to give a
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shout out to my family. thank you for sending me to dowling, where they really drilled it into you that education is key for the future. you really need to get educated. throughout the entire time i've been to toughs i've always heard the message that education is key, and we need to continue end indicating ourselves and we need to get involved, because even though we have this undocumented status, thankfully i'm okay for a couple years, we can't allow ourselves to fall in this rut where we think everybody is going to be fixed or we can just lay in the background and just have other people take the initiative. we need to be out there in the forefront, we need to be engaging our representatives, our senators, we need to be out there telling the iowa people, tell our representatives especially the representative who represents this district and my representative, representative tom latham, that we are here. we might not get media coverage like the dreamers in california or the dreamers in the eastern coast, but we are here, we are
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present. we've been here for several years. i want to give a thank you to senator dick durbin for introducing the dreamer act in 2001. in 2001 i was 8 years old, roughly about third grade. i had no idea that something that had happened so long ago would have an impact now, because my parents, they believe that the dreamer act would have passed and they would not have had to tell me i was undocumented. so i am here because of the nonpassage of the dream act. so for me to be here now 12 years later looking back, it really shows how we need to come together and we need to keep advocating for this comprehensive immigration reform, because we really need this. i don't want to wait another 12 years and have my now 9-year-old brother turn to me and say, hey, hand to immigration, reform, how many you're still documented? i want to tell him, sebastian, we were at the forefront of this
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struggle and we helped the passage along with other latino leaders, and i really want this reform to happen. and i want to tell our representatives directly, you hold basically the power to do that. you hold the power to say we want to bring this up to a vote, house representative, house leader boehner, we want to bring this up for a vote. my point is, what do you have to lose what are you afraid of? if the bill doesn't pass the latino community can regroup, we need to move on. if it does pass, then we can all rejoice, but that's not the end of the struggle. for dreamers here in iowa, we need to continue, even if this bill completely fails, we need to continue with this struggle for iowa. right now those with the federal action, we still can't get grants, scholar ships. we need to continue that struggle. the struggle to get our drivers
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licenses was difficult as well. and the emphasis that we need to continue moving on, because if we don't tell them, hey, i may be an immigrant from another country, but i am iowan and we deserve the same you do. if we don't do, that then all of this will be for nothing. we need to continue moving forward, continue fighting, continue telling our representatives, calling them, visiting their offices and telling them we want this reform to happen and we are here. as those post cards show, 400 some iowans want this reform to happen, as senator harkin and senator durbin said, 47, 48% of representatives of this representative's own district wants this reform to happen, so they can't deny those facts. and i can say other dreamers want this to happen for all of us. [applause]
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>> that was great. wow. let's see, so hector is going to be a lawyer. laurie chesser with the davis brown law firm, you better keep your eye on this guy. laurie chesser. >> thank you, senator harkin and durbin for bringing the spotlight to this critical issue to iowa at this time. of course thank you to eduardo and hector, you're a very hard act to follow. but i'm certainly not worried about competition. we need all the good immigration lawyers that we can get. and we need all the dreamers that we can get. now i'm here today really not as an immigration lawyer so much as a representative of the business community, because i spent the
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last 20 years working with businesses that bring immigrants to the states to work in various capacities. and so i was asked today to represent that perspective. businesses are not partisan, businesses art interested in partisan politics, businesses are really interested in having workers. historically and currently today, immigrants have played a critical role in the u.s. work force. and in iowa right now we have about 5%, according to most estimates, of immigrant workers in our work force, but that 5% is really a critical percent, because immigrants complement the u.s. work force. and going forward, which is what i think we really have to stay focused on when we're talking about immigration reform is the future as well as the past and
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the present. but we really have to look to the future. going forward immigrants will play a particularly critical role in the work force in the u.s., but even more so in iowa. you know nshes iowa they are doing a lot of work between businesses and education to prepare iowa's work force for the future. and the majority of jobs in the future will be what they call middle skilled jobs. middle skill jobs typically are filled by the native u.s. work force, so to speak. but we still will really need immigrant workers to fill particular segments that aren't being filled by toughs work force, either because u.s. workers are hard to find for jobs or that there are special skills that are are needed. so we have to keep in mind that we're facing, as a country, and this is where iowa is really on
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the cutting edge, maybe the bleeding edge, we're facing the retirement of the baby boomers. and as the baby boomers have started to retire, they'll continue to retire, then they'll age, then unfortunately some will get sick, and we have to think about all those needs going forward. we need to backfill for the jobs that the baby boomers leave, but we also need to have workers that will fill jobs created by economic growth and other opportunities that we're all hopeful will be in iowa's and america's future. so recent studies have shown that throughout the united states, but also in iowa, that all growth in work force in the next 30 years will be attributable to immigrants, because of this demographic of retiring baby boomers and the generation coming after them. and of course also as i think senator harkin alluded to, we
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also need to not only fill jobs that are are currently here, but we need to create jobs, we need known vagues. and this is where immigrants have really contributed to america as well. immigrants are are more likely as a group to start businesses. immigrants are more likely to have a patent when they are working in the high tech industries and that, than native born counterparts. then finally we have to remember that we live in a small world. we can't isolate america from the rest of the world. and that's true for our economy. so therefore our economy is not a zero sum game, our work force is not a zero sum game. businesses and workers adapt to changing policies and changing circumstances. so we work with the rest of the world, but we're also in a sense in competition with the rest of the world where exports, imports, and for work force. so immigration i think from the business perspective really
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should be viewed as a precious resource for many reasons, many, many cultural and many other reasons, you know. but also economically. and we need to make sure that that resource is being managed well both now and looking to the future. and so we look forward to working with the senators and with the representatives as the business community to really form immigration law that will help everyone, help immigrants, help the dreamers and the dreamers are such a critical part of our work force needs going forward, but of course of our communities. and i certainly recognize the dignity of people as people, but i also just want to bring out this economic aspect as well, because it's important for the well-being of everyone. and so we look forward to working on that and to have an immigration bill that will really work for iowa and for america. [applause]
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>> i'd be remiss in not adding that lori is also part of the greater desmoines work force development board and is gauged in developing their policy, also the vice chair of the american immigration council, a policy focused national nonprofit organization. so thank you. and again, i want to now go to nick harrington, a union representative from ufc local 222. just double checked with the senator durbin, from the business standpoint, the u.s. chamber of commerce supports the immigration bill. businesses get it, they know how important this is for the economic vitality of america. and it was also endorsed by the aflcio, so labor understands it also. so we thank both the business and labor community for supporting the immigration bill.
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[applause] so, nick, you've been involved in ufcw, packing houseworkers and stuff, and it's been my experience as i've toured them, now didn't work in them like durbin did, he actually worked in packing, worked his way through college, he worked as a meat cutter in packing houses. but as i travel around, i see more and more of our latino community working in our packing houses, meat cutting and places that you represent. so please tell us about that. >> well, i'm with ufcw local 222 out of the northwest iowa. we have a packing house in cherokee, iowa and dakota city, nebraska. together that's close to roughly 5,000 employees, and i would say 75% of them are latino. >> 75%? >> yes. so 75% of our membership, who we represent, is latino, and immigrant workers.
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so, again, good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the panel and audience, senators. i'm honored to be here today to talk about an issue that affects us all. these united states, our united states, have been place of dreams and opportunities for immigrants for hundreds of years. this dream lives today. the opportunity to achieve this dream has become tarnished by political rhetoric and partisan politics. comprehensive immigration reform must create a path to citizenship. there are as many as 11 million immigrants aspiring to be americans living and contributing in the united states today. this path must be streamlined for dreamers who are brought here as young children with immigrant parents. these people are part of the drive and the will of our economy. they open shops, restaurants, and stores. they work in fields, factories,
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and in meat packing. giving the life blood to the middle class, like the irish and german and other immigrants centuries before. congressman king has made comments about immigrants that are wrong and offensive. congressman king also feels that today's immigrants in some way are substandard compared to every day americans. well, let me tell you, as a real blue color iow aan, i started working in meat packing at one of the world's largest beef plants at the age of 18. as a young man fresh out of high school i had never been around that environment that meat packing involves. i worked many jobs with most of the men and women being immigrants. unlike some would have you believe, the immigrants working there paid their taxes, just like me. #. [applause]
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they paid their insurance, just like me. and most important, they were working for a better life for their families, just like me. [applause] in my years of working in the meat packing industry, and the last four years of working as a union representative, i can tell you immigration reform will improve the standards for all workers. it will help end the exploitation of any worker. [applause] it will help reunite families without living in fear or being separated for up to three to 10 years, waiting to try to bring their families here legally. [applause] friends, brothers and sisters,
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this current system is broken. every american worker deserves fair pay. every american worker deserves the opportunity to live this dream. the dream of our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers. now is the time for america to create a modern 21st century immigration system. now is the time for reform to create an effective mechanism during the employment eligibility and reform must not be piecemeal or increment al, it must be comprehensive and timely. [applause] this is our chance. our chance to make our mark in history, giving today's american dreamer a fair and equitable chance to become an american citizen. i leave you today with a quote from a labor activist, caesar
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chavez. once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. you cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. you cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. you cannot oppress the people who are not afraid any more. [applause] we have seen the future, and the future is ours. thank you. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> that was really good. >> well, that was powerful. thank you.
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i guess, i just thought of this. i have to be a mediator, so i just got to thinking, every time you pick up one of those chicken wings or a chicken finger or you've got those barbecued ribs on the grill or you're cooking that steak, just think, chances are three times out of four that that was done by a latino working in a packing plant some place. [applause] reverend barb? >> i too want to thank you. thank you very much, senators for bringing us together. thank all of you for being here. my panel, i really don't need to say anything, because they've said it all and very eloquently. we come together because really what we're talking about is people. and how government policy affects people. people who sometimes are not visible, people who sometimes
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intentionally remain hidden, out of fear. and because of the role i have in the community as a pastor in the united methodist church serving a latino congregation and inner city congregation, i see that impact daily. the fear is real. in the old days, in 2006 we had the raids in tyson, in 2008 we had the horrible raid at postville. everybody saw, everybody knew hundreds of people were being rounded up. treated unkindly. inappropriately. not given their civil rights. we had hearings on that. and now i ask people, so do you know about what's happening to these immigrants, those people who don't have working documents? lots of folks don't, but that doesn't mean it's not happening. so we see what's happening to
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real people through a government policy that we want to make good for the common good, right, that's the purpose. immigration reform will help people not be fearful, and it will help our community and our businesses. it seems to me to be a no brainer, i don't get it, so that's just where i continue to stay. but i see people, i have a family, for example, that live in fear, four little girls, they're citizens, their mom and dad aren't. because the little girls know that uncle over here was arrested and aunt over here was arrested, the little girls say, mommy, don't let them get you today. they live with that daily. or they say, you know, we had a fire in our kitchen but we didn't call the fire department because we thought maybe the fire department might turn us in to imation. now we knowatoing to
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happen, but that's the fear they live with. they don't do things that they can because they live in fear. so this change in our immigration laws can only be good for everybody, in my mind. you know, i do come from the faith perspective, that's who i am, and all people that come out of the monotheistic relinls, jewish, muslim, christian, they have an ancestor called abraham who was a wandering aramaian, and i often challenge people who do bible studies, do you know anybody in the bible that didn't wander, immigrate, migrate? any, please, please. and i've had i've had professors say yeah, there's one, but
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that's not a good example, sodom. and gomorah, you don't want to go there, okay. so i stand, if we are people of faith, people who want to do good for the community, i don't get it. and i'll remain that. people want to become citizens. our english class, we have an english program at our church, it's usually run 1 hunks 150 people, as soon as people heard that there was going to be a possible immigration reform, we had 270 people last year. we can't contain them, there's not an english class in the desmoines area that isn't filled to the max because people want to do whatever it is that they need to do to become a citizen. pay your taxes, pay your taxes, learning english, learn english. take citizenship classes, got it. what do i have to do? we had a know your rights, what do you need to do to become, it really went like this.
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if the immigration system has changed, if the law changes, what will you need to do to get prepared for it? we had 80 people there. people want to know. so i thank you very much for your attempts, please don't give up, here we're behind you. how can we help you? this is good for iowa, this is good for the united states, it's good for the world. so thank you. let's keep going. [applause] >> i think what you've just seen here is really what i hope this really represents iowa.
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i mean we've got the business community, the labor community, the faith ppt community, our new dreamer community, political leaders, and people of all political stripes. this is not a partisan thing, this is not, never has been in the past, it shun be today. it should be something that brings us altogether to recognize that we have a broken system, and we need to fix it. and we work very hard in a bipartisan fashion in the united states senate to craft a bill that is supported across a wide spectrum, business, lanes, faith community. as i said, both political parties. now, we had a situation happen in the house recently. now, i mention the doca bill, not a bill, it was something
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president obama did over a year ago, i think. >> last august. >> it's called the deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, and that says to the dreamers, those that fall under your bill, the dreamers, that they can get kind of a, you correct me if i'm wrong, a provisional, a work permit, a work thing where that if they can show that they came here as a young dreamer that they're going to school, they don't have a criminal record, they get a work permit and they won't be kicked out of the country. >> that's right. >> they won't face what you were talking about, that specter of being kicked out of the country if you're picked up in the back seat of a car for speeding or anything like that. so that has been a great policy, that's only been in existence since last year, we applauded the president for doing that, and i thought we all supported it. just a week ago, there was an amendment in the house of
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representatives on a funding bill to strip all of the funding and to end that program. which means that people like our two friends here would have that taken away from them. they would then both hector and, could both be kicked out of the country, after all this time. that amendment, i am sad to say, passed by 224-201. it is just -- so that amendment was sponsored by the congressman from this district, congressman king. (boos) >> the only reason i say that is because we have an immigration bill that we passed in the senate, roundly support bid labor, business, the faith community, both, it was bipartisan, it sitting in the united states house of
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representatives. so those who want to deny great our new immigrants, our -- denigrate our dreamers, they had the vote. i now call on the house of representatives to bring up the senate passed immigration bill and let us have our vote. [applause] and, dick, i'll yield to you, but i believe the votes are there if they bring up the senate bill and put it on the floor, i think it will pass, don't you, dick? >> we passed the immigration reform bill in the senate because it was a bipartisan bill. i worked on it for seven months. four democratic senators, four republican senators. the democratic senators, chuck schumer of work, chairman of the immigration subcommittee, bob menendez of new jersey, our
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hispanic democratic senator, and michael bennett of colorado. across the table you'd be thinking, well, what republicans would sit down with you, they must have been pushovers. sitting on the republican side, john mccain, former republican candidate for president of the united states. lindsey graham, republican senator from south carolina, marco rubio, tea party republican from florida, and jeff blake, the new senator from arizona. we sat there for seven months, it was a lot of work, over 40 face to face meetings. we went through everything under the sun, things we haven't mentioned today. h1b's, these are visas that we offer to specialized training people, special professionals. let me give you an example. over 50% of the phd's that will be awarded at iowa state university in stem subjects, science, technology,ngineering
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and math, will go to foreign born students. they'll get the best education -- wait, wait, wait. they get the best education in america, they develop the best skills in america, and then we point them to the airport. now this bill says we will offer them, if they can fine a job, a chance to stay, to use those skills to build jobs in america, to build businesses in america. [applause] so we came together on a bipartisan basis, and at the end of the day we passed a bill, some parts of it i hated. some parts of it they hated. that's how you reach a compromise. we ended up with 54 democratic senators and 14 republican senators giving a 68 votes to pass that bill out of the senate. my message, and tom's message to the speaker is give us a chance to do things and come together, both political parties. give the house of representatives a chance to come up with a bipartisan approach.
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we had one, maybe they have one too. but let's get it done, it's time for america to fix this broken immigration system. [applause] >> first i want to ask if either eduardo or hector, do you have anything to add? i guess, call on eduardo, because you are under the daca bill, right? >> yes. >> this is one guy right here this is under the daca thing i mentioned and if that thing, if that is done away with, as congressman king got that vote in the house, it won't pass the senate. but if it did, what would happen to you? >> i have no idea. live under the shadows again, you know. as we once did.
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or go back to a country i really don't know. so i'm not quite sure. >> i think it's safe to say it would take away your plans for your future, right? >> absolutely. >> do you have anything to add, eduardo, hector, i mean. >> it would be very upsetting to me, if that bill did pass through the senate, and you know, at the end of the program myself it would be devastating. a couple months ago when the iowa d.o.t. was in the position not to grant drivers licenses, i was at the forefront, i was saying we need to get this, we need this to happen. if they were to take back that program from us, from other dreamers, everything we've been doing so far would be for nothing. and even then, i think for myself i would try to get that program to come back. but it would be devastating, no
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doubt about it. >> listen, we have two mic's -- i'm sorry, reverend. >> i helped register some of these daca kids when they had the opportunity, they had a free clinic, and many of them had great fear turning over their name and all of their information to the government, that this exactly might happen. what will happen if they do away with this, they'll have all of our information, where will we go, what will happen? they'll come after our parents. so that fear actually kept some daca kids, and their families from moving forward. >> thank you. we have two mic's out there. omar has one and i think senator durbin's staff has one, if there's anyone that wants to make a comment, a statement or a question for any of our panelists. we'll try to get to -- >> senator harkin, senator durbin, first of all thanks so much for being here. senator harkin, thanks so much
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for, is it four decades of service to iowans? [applause] when senator harkin first ran for office for the u.s. congress, he lived here in ames, iowa and was elected from ames, iowa. let me change the focus slightly. you're talking to people in this country who support you in the dream act. but we need to talk to the people who oppose it. and i go back to george lacoff and his notion that we have people who are anxious to enforce the laws, and people broke the laws, so we ought to build a fence. how high a fence do they want? 70 feet? whatever. it's racist. how do we know this? they don't want it up north.
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now. you said, both of you, you referred to if we pass the dream act, if we make people citizens, they will pay taxes. but as he said, no, they already pay millions and millions and millions of dollars of taxes. sales taxes, property taxes, and yet some states don't want to let them go to public school. and who funds public schools? and income social security says that about half of them pay social security and can get though benefits. >> that's right. >> i think we ought to be talking about, we ought to be fair that we're not providing what they are are paying for. [applause] >> one of the best ways to save social security is, i thought i might add that those of us in our committees working on social security, one of the best things we could do to preserve and extend the life of social
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securind to make sure we bring people out of the shadows. and so they are fully paying into social security during their working years. [applause] >> one other element i'd like to add. this bill is not a powder puff easy bill. for those who want to become citizens. it isn't. they come forward, register with the government, who they are, where they live, where they work. they then go through a criminal background check, it's tough. if they have any serious crimes in their background, they're gone, no if's, and's or but's, it's black and white. i'm sure lit be problematic in some cases, but that's what it is, it's a tough standard. they pay the initial $500 out of $2,000 as a fine. they are now on the books and they are paying taxes. and what does it mean? for many of them there will be no government benefits coming their way for 10 years, despite the fact they're paying taxes. for those who have been working
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here using some other identification number, they get no credit for the quarters worked under social security before this bill passes into law, none. if you work 20 years in america, paid into social security on somebody else's number and you can prove it, not worth anything, in terms of your social security in the future. you start at that day when this bill becomes law, having a chance to accumulate eligibility for social security. that's it. and in terms of school, hector, eduardo, they may not face this directly, but there's no pell grants available to these young people. they can have work study loans and they can, if they have to pay back, but that's it. so it's a very limited, tough 10 years. and people who say it's amnesty, for goodness sakes, you know, these folks are paying a heavy price for having come here illegally or overstaying a visa. two things we have not mentioned. we establish an e verify system,
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from this point forward after this bill becomes law, who ever applies for a job in america must present a government i.d. with a photo. the employer enters this into a computer in the e verify system and watches for the photograph to come up. if the official government photograph for that name doesn't match the one they have in their hand, they can't be hired. so this is going to make the workplace a lot tougher and any employer who hires someone who doesn't match up, their subject to fines and penalties. and finally, i think it was hector who told the story about overstaying a visitors visa. 40% of the undocumented people in america overstayed their visas, visitors, tourists, whatever it may be. we are now going to have a system under this law that is going to track people not only as they come in on visas but as they leave on visa. so this is a toughen forcement bill, and those who say it isn't haven't taken a look at it. when it comes to the border i will tell you something, i had
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to grit my teeth as they put another 700-miles of fence and billions of dollars on the border. for those who say we don't have enough border protection, keep this in mind. 10 years ago we had 10,000 border patrol agents, 10,000, for our southern border. today we have almost 20,000. this bill raises it to 40,000. so for those who argue that this is weak on border enforcement, trust me, i think we went too far, but as i said when you're in a negotiating situation you want path to citizenship, you want the dream act, we listen to the other side of the table and put more money in border enforcement than has ever been spent in the history of the united states. so it's a tough bill. it's a rough bill. but these immigrants have had enough determination to stick it out through thick and thin for 10 or 20 years, they're going to make it, they're going to make to it the finish line, they're going to be citizens some day. [applause]
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>> we on have time for one more, i'm sorry. >> my name is jim gawnlt, i live in ames, i want to touch on something that's been alluded to a little bit but not much. i have ancestors who game to this continent from 1620 until about 1895. none of those people had to ask permission to land on these shores, none of them. [applause] the first of them had to ask permission to get out of england, but other than that, you know. as far as i know i'm the first person in my family, my lineal dissent, to come west. some came in wagons, i came here in a chevy. as far as i know i'm the first person in my lineal ancestry to get a four-year college degree and a masters at iowa state. like i said, none of my people had to ask permission to get here, and dog gone it, i'm not
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going to stand in the way of anybody else who wants to come here for a better life, like my ancestors did, and i'm flattered that people still want to come to america. thank you. [applause] >> a good note to end on. we thank you all for coming, that is a great note to end on. i think that what you can see is that, and i hope, dick, you know this, but i hope others take away from this that we're proud in iowa of our history of welcoming new immigrants to this state. everybody from my mother to the boat people, the somalis who are here, the hamong people who came here from cambodia, and laos.
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and those who came from south of our border. those who came from mexico and gotta mat la and honduras, and el salvador and nicaragua and other places. they came here as this gentleman just said, they didn't come here to criminalize or be criminals or to take advantage of anything, they came here just because they wanted to provide a better life for themselves and their families, and when you do things like that, that's not criminal. you don't criminalize people for doing this, it's like i've said before, you know, you don't say if someone broke a law because they broke the speeding limit through three or five times, you don't call them criminals. people who come here because they just want to keep their families together, they send money back home, so their kids can go to school. so they can maybe build a little better house for their family.
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you know, i just say again, to me that's not criminal activity. what we have to do is set up a structure, a better structure, that dick durbin has worked so hard onto get this bipartisan agreement, a new structure that will allow people who have come here to do that, to work hard, you pointed out all the hoops they've got to go through, but to bring them out of the shadows, to make them full members of our american family so that together we can make this country grow and prosper in the future. every wave of immigrants have done that for america, and this wave is no different. they're going to make america a better place. [applause] thank you very much for being here, thank you, senator durbin. thank you very much. >> today on c-span.
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>> thank you. the personal stories that we heard here today are echoed by countless others from across our state and the entire united states. they echo the stories of so many iow aans who have told me they are tired of the status quote, they want congress to come together to fix this dysfunctional and inhumane immigration system. we're here today to represent the views of the great majority of iowans who want us to get our job done, work out practical solutions, stop playing politics, stop demonizing and denigrating our fellow humans and those who just want to help us build a better and more prosperous iowa and america. while some misguided folks want to fight culture wars and stir up passions, most iowans and americans are con the economy.
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they want to work to get the bill that we passed in the senate passed in the house. a bipartisan common sense approach that improves border security requires employers to verify work authorization, unites families. offers a practical accountable solution to bring undocumented families out of the shadows, and into the community, and our social and economic life. and i will say as a proud senator who has represented this state, as a congressman and senator for almost 40 years, that iowans are a caring people. yes, we believe in the rule of law, but we believe in fairness and we believe in equity. and we believe that people ought to have a chance to succeed. and to work. and to help their families. this has been our history in this state. we welcomed the boat people, we
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welcomed people here from eritria and nigeria, and from ethiopia, and yes from mexico and honduras and guatemala and el salvador, nicaragua and other places south of our border. because we know that immigrants help build our state and build our society. i speak as the son of an immigrant. my mother came to this country as an immigrant. and so i know what it means to be raised in a family of first generations. these people that we're talking about here don't deserve to be dehumanized or denigrated in any way. they need to know that we in congress are going to do our job to fix this system, bring people out of the shadows, put them on a path to legal status, put them on a pathway where they can work and pay taxes and be fully contributing members of our
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society. and then to get in line between, get in the line behind those who have green cards so that yes in the future they can become full citizens of the united states. the person who led the charge on the dream act now for 12 years to make sure that we get to this point where we actually passed a bipartisan bill and he was the leader in that effort on our side to get us that bill passed in the senate, i'm proud to introduce my good friend and my fellow senator from our neighboring state of illinois, senator dick durbin. >> thanks, tom, thanks very much. the comments that were made by congressman king 10 days ago, 12 days ago have been condemned by members of his own party. the republican speaker of the house john boehner said that they were hateful words, that's a quote. mr. cantor, the number two republican in the house, said the words were inexcusable. that really sums it up. i came to tom harkin after
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hearing those words and said to him, i cannot let these words go without challenge. particularly as it relates to the dream act. what he said about these dreamers, characterized them as drug smugglers and people that could never be trusted, doesn't reflect the reality of those who will be eligible under the dream act and those who want to be part of america's future. i said to tom, can we come together and talk about this in the congressman's district? and he said i want to be there as well, because i want to tell the true story about what iowans feel about the issue of immigration. he said congressman king does not speak for the people of iowa, he doesn't even speak for the people of his district. so we came together today in ames to introduce two real life dreamers to the press and to the public, and also to introduce the real feelings of the people of iowa about immigration. i have confidence that at the en of the day we're going to pass
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immigration reform with republicans, independents and democrats coming together. this is not a partisan issue. it shouldn't be an issue that divides us, it should be an issue that unites us. because it is out common heritage, it's who we are, it's what america is all about, it's what illinois is all about and iowa is all about. so the testimony today that we heard, a heart warming stories from all of our witnesses, i hope that congressman king will have a chance to read these, or at least hear them, or maybe even meet some. i have a lot of my friends who are dreamers and they have now become some of the most active lobbyists on capitol hill, they are everywhere. these kids are visiting every single office, they are fearless politically. they've come up to congressman king, personally face to face and said we'd like to tell you our story, and he turns and walks away. it's time for him to listen. and it's time for him to understand these young people just want a chance to be part of america's future. i hope today we've started on
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the path to making that happen. thanks, tom. >> thank you very much, dick. thank you very much. [applause] >> i might just add, as i said out there, a poll was taken this last wednesday by the terrence group which is a republican polling group, and they found that in this district, in this congressman king's district, that 70% of republican voters, 70% of republican voters back a path to legal status. so we'd like to open for questions. >> neither of you used the wore racist, although one of the gentlemen who was asking a question did. do you consider congressman king's comments racist? >> i don't know if i do, they're hurtful. they are denigrating comments about good people, and as dick
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said they are not reflective of these dreamers at all. these are are just really, well, what did the speaker say, hateful words. and we shouldn't have a place for those in our political discourse, especially around an issue like this. do you want to add anything? >> senators, dave young a candidate for the u.s. senate here has said that if it weren't mexico on our southern border but instead scan day they've yeah that many republicans would feel the same way, that this is an issue of sovereignty and rule of law, and that the race of the people or the color of the skin of the people in the country on our southern border is irrelevant. do you think republicans would be animated in the way they are if norway and denmark were on our southern border instead?
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>> well, that is, that's a very speculative question. let me just say this. we're a nation of immigrants, we always have been and we always will be. immigrants bring something important to this country. beyond their hard work and determination for a better life. and i hope that we can have a positive relationship with all of our neighbors, canada, mexico, wherever. and i hope that, i don't know the gentleman you referred to here, i hope it doesn't reflect on his own community and family in terms of how they came to this country and what they brought to this country. i think when people stop and reflect and are honest about it, they get a much better view about immigration and what it means to our future. >> yes, as i've said, we have 11 million people in this country. that are here illegally.
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40%, as senator durbin pointed out, did not come across a border, they came here with a visa in hand from a lot of different countries. and when the visa was up they just stayed. many have been here 40, 50 years. all of these, do i think every single one of those is a criminal? no. are they here legally, yes. and that's why the bill that we crafted is a tough bill that sets up a lot of hoops that they have to jump through, they have to have a criminal background check, they have to pay a fine, they have to -- have to learn english. there's a lot of things they have to go through before the end of that 10 years when they can get in line. this is not an amnesty whatsoever. so i separate out people who came here illegally, from people who are criminals.
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now, ous they broke laws and did things, they'd be criminals. but simply because they came here to work, to provide for their family, they have broken no laws other than coming here illegally, they're here illegally, that's true. and they need to go through all the hoops we put in the bill. but i just don't classify them as criminals. >> people have sort of marked out their territory. what do you think, if you would predict, is this going to be something you're going to start again in a new legislative session? is there still life in this one, what do you think the future of this piece of legislation is? >> there is life in this issue, and this issue is timely, and it's necessary for america. now, the house of representatives has seen this coming for a long time. we've been at this for months in the senate, they were talking about the issue at the same time. so it shouldn't come as any
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surprise that we sent them a bill about a month ago to consider. now it's up to them how they want to approach it. tom and i serve in the house, we had pride as house members that we could do things better tonight senate, didn't we, always did. senators feel the same way about the house. well, let them come up with a bill. if they have a prol, bring it up. let's bring it up and vote on it in the house and let's bring it together in a conference committee. that's how it's supposed to work. and i sense, i really sense that there is a growing sentiment on the republican side that they cannot ignore this issue. they have to deal with it. and that means passing some legislation. let's do it this year. before the next year's campaign year. i think it's a lot easier to get done this year. now, it is complicated, because the house is not really putting in a lot of hours. they're going to be in session nine days in the month of september. and so we're going to try to catch them when they get off the plane and talk to them before they get back on and see if we
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can get this on their agenda, but the sooner we can bring this up the better. >> have either of you received any assurances or any conversations with speaker boehner that it will come up for a vote before the end of the year? >> i don't -- no. >> no, but as dick said we both sevenned in the house, we know the power of the speaker, and the speaker controls the rules committee. speaker boehner could, september 9 or 10, whatever day we get back, take that senate bill, put it to the rules committee 'have it on the floor in one day. he could do that. >> if it's pushed off to next year, what effect do you think it latest have on the elections? >> let me tell you, take a look at what happened in the last election and president obama's vote totals. naturally overwhelming support for the president from african-americans, and over 70% of the hispanic voters voted for president obama. but that wasn't the second
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strongest group for president. the second strongest group were asian americans. asian americans view this issue very personally too. they are immigrants to this country. asian americans voted in higher percentages for the president than hispanic americans. so if a fellow like jim mccain is a very honest man and comes forward and says there are parts of america where the republican party doesn't have a chance if we don't identify ourselves on the right side of immigration reform, and he's been very open about it. he's said those words and john has the credentials to speak when it comes to that. and i think that if the republicans in the house do not respond to this issue honestly in a comprehensive way, it's going to continue to overshadow any other political issue among certain groups in america. okay? thanks, everybody. >> again let me thank, i want to again point out that we have the business community, the greater desmoines partnership, we have organized labor again reflective
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of what we had in our bill with u.s. chamber and aflcio supporting our bill, we have the faith community. i don't know how many different faith groups we have in our bill, hundreds. >> catholics, evangelicals. >> and of course our two dreamers here whom we are very proud, and want to make sure we get this bill for them and their families. thank you very much. thank you.
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washington journal for august the third. potential attacks by al qaeda has part of the state department to issue a worldwide alert for travelers. the attacks may occur before the end of august with north africa and the middle east been the focus of that threat. wall street journal reporting that a bill is being proposed that would double the amount of guest worker visas. turning to the economy, the unemployment figure is at